Joburg's profile was raised when the City manager did himself and the City proud in the MTN SuperSport Shootout. Even the president stopped by for a visit.
IT was all smiles for City manager Mavela Dlamini yesterday, following his first-rate performance in the eighth annual MTN SuperSport Shootout golf tournament.
Dlamini, an avid golfer with a handicap of nine, finished third on nett 147 three over in individual competition. To put the icing on his outing, Dlamini and his partner, Gareth Tindall, the commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, came second overall on 10 under in what is called a betterball set-up, which pairs two golfers.
City manager Mavela Dlamini tees off during the Joburg Open
The three-day tournament took place at the Simola Golf and Country Estate in Knysna, Western Cape from 13 to 15 May, on a course designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.
Wearing a colourful jersey, with a matching tie and white collar shirt, Dlamini looked all sportsman as he sat down to talk about his sterling performance, especially for a golfer of his rank.
His game had proved that his golf was improving he said, speaking enthusiastically about the sport. “I think I played exceptionally well for the first time in a coastal environment. I enjoyed the outing. It was a good site to visit, and we were also visited by the president; what better way to spend the weekend?”
Tindall and Dlamini were pitted against scores of business executives, government officials and sports legends from across the country. The field included former Bok wing Breyton Paulse and fellow Bok Werner Greeff; fullback in the 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning side, Andre Joubert; boxing’s Corrie Sanders; 1995 Bok captain, Francois Pienaar; Bok legend Gary Teichmann; and former world surf-ski champion, Oscar Chalupsky, to list a few of the 120 golfers invited.
Paulse was the overall winner of the tournament, finishing at nett nine-under par and by 10 shots with partner Riyadh Peer combining for a 19-under-par total to clinch the amateur title. Second place was Greeff with one-under 71 for a nett 69 and a one-over total of 145.
Dlamini was impressed by Paulse’s game. “He is a good golfer and he had a great weekend.”
City manager Mavela Dlamini speaks about his achievements at the MTN SuperSport Shootout golf tournament. Watch video.
The MTN SuperSport Shootout golf tournament is a charity golf event held annually to raise funds for the Gozololo Centre for Needy Children and the Jacob Zuma Trust. It is based on establishing South Africa’s top amateur celebrity golfer in an environment that replicates a US PGA Tour event. It is seen as a premier celebrity golf event.
Dlamini said the tournament was designed to connect influential people so that they could share ideas and enjoy a social outing.
Overall, the past weekend was a great one in all sports codes and he enjoyed everything from domestic to international football, rugby and golf, particularly Darren Clarke’s latest victory. He won the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca, Spain on Sunday, his first European Tour title in three years.
“He had a great weekend, and I think he is a good golfer as well,” Dlamini said of Clarke.
Although he was not aiming to play professionally, the City manager was delighted with the impact of the game on his life. The sport helps him to unwind and escape the daily pressures of his job. “I find golf to be good relief for stress and a useful tool for networking.”
That his handicap had improved from 11 to nine in just under two years augured well for the future. A handicap is a numerical measure of an amateur golfer’s playing ability. It is used to calculate a net score from the number of strokes played, and it allows players of different proficiency to play against each other on equal terms.
A coaching clinic
The higher the handicap of a player, the poorer the player is relative to those with lower handicaps. Handicaps are administered by golf clubs or national golf associations.
In recent years, Dlamini has taken to the sport, participating regularly in the annual Joburg Open and other golf tournaments. The sport has also grown in Johannesburg.
The City dedicates resources to host an annual golf tournament, which is designed to expand the sport’s accessibility to those in previously marginalised neighbourhoods and dispel myths about it being elitist. Dlamini believes the Joburg Open, as it is known, serves to etch Joburg on the world map as a great, world-class sports host.
The four-day tournament sets the pace for the year. It is a co-sanctioned Order of Merit event on the PGA European Tour and Sunshine Tour. It is the third European Tour Order of Merit tournament in South Africa, along with the Dunhill Championship and the South African Airways Open. It is sponsored by the City, the Sunshine Tour, the European Tour and other commercial entities.
Each year, the City organises for professionals participants to host pre-tournament clinics to teach youngsters the sport, help them perfect their swings and give valuable advice and tips. Besides this, Joburg has several other programmes for nurturing and mentoring aspirant young golfers from Soweto and Alexandra who get to participate in the Open.
Coaching aspirant golfers at a clinic in Alexandra in 2010, Dlamini said: “Golf is not played by aliens; it’s played by people walking on two feet with two hands and with a good head. That’s all you need to get started.” At the time, Dlamini said the City was using golf to “build good and more responsible sporting people who can represent our country and our city in many areas”.